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Journal > Volumes > 41 (2010) / 1 (Spring)
Between the Hall and the Market: William Clowes and Surgical Self-Fashioning in Elizabethan London
Celeste Chamberland
Roosevelt University, Chicago

By exploring the ways in which honor and reputation intersected with the self-fashioning of late sixteenth-century surgeons in the work of William Clowes, this study re-situates Elizabethan surgical practitioners within the credit-oriented cultural milieu of London’s guild-dominated urban landscape. As a sea surgeon, prolific author, surgeon to Queen Elizabeth I, and outspoken member of the London Barber-Surgeons’ Company, Clowes became one of his company’s most vocal spokesmen. Although his self-promotion was occasionally at odds with the company’s goal of collective advancement, in describing his experiences at sea, showcasing his learning, and attempting to create a fixed identity for surgeons rooted in patriotism, probity, and sound moral character, Clowes and his elite colleagues self-consciously fashioned and projected an identity that emphasized their adherence to contemporary norms of manhood specific to London’s guild-oriented artisanal milieu.

Pages: 68 - 89